New Zealand v India, 5th ODI, Wellington January 31, 2014

'Middle orders were the difference' - Dhoni


Dhoni on where India went wrong

MS Dhoni has said that the series was decided by the gulf in class between the middle orders of India and New Zealand. Indeed, while Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor piled on the runs for the hosts, Dhoni and Virat Kohli were regularly left with too much ground to regain after the other Indian batsmen had disappointed time and again.

"More often than not we were chasing big scores. You know you can't rely on a couple of batsmen," Dhoni said. "What we have seen is that apart from one game, most of the times we have been behind, we have only been doing the catching-up work. And the run-rate goes too high. The last 25 overs, you can't really look to chase eight or nine an over. That was a setback to some extent."

India's problems began at the top where the openers could not build on their starts, and also ended up consuming more overs than usual. A more positive approach from his batting colleagues instead of caution would have helped, Dhoni added.

"At times people start to think too much. Yes they bowled really well. But at the same time we need to back ourselves to play the shots or the kind of cricket that we are known to play. To some extent we got bogged down. We didn't try a different thing. You may lose a few games but it's also important to see the kind of attitude that you bring into the game and try to play aggressive cricket. If you get out, you get out. At the end of the day if you lose too many wickets you are just hoping to save wickets. It has to be a real mix. It's not like this is the formula that will solve the problem.

"What is important is to have a positive intent right from the start and positive intent doesn't always mean looking for the big shots. Positive intention when it comes to defending a ball or looking for a single. So that's a change that we'll have to do."

In complete contrast to their Indian counterparts, Williamson and Taylor had three century partnerships in the series to go with a fifty stand, and Dhoni said not being able to strike in the middle overs was what eventually pulled India down.

"The main difference in the two sides was the middle order batting. They batted really well. They rotated the strike well. Kept wickets in hand and last few (overs) they went for the big shots. That has been the case throughout. If it wasn't Ross, Guptill played a brilliant innings. If it was not Kane, then it was somebody else.

"It was the middle overs that were very crucial and that's where they really dominated. That's the time when we are losing wickets and we are only doing the catching up."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 4, 2014, 23:08 GMT

    The power of singles is overlooked by the young indian batsmen spoilt by T20 cricket and mediocre bowling attacks on subcontinent pitches. Some of them are too lazy and probably unfit (yes Rohit Sharma thats you) to play substantial overs and run tirelessly.

  • Dummy4 on February 3, 2014, 8:53 GMT

    Dhoni is biggest problem because he plays like it is one man show and everybody else have to do what he tells them to do. for past several years he has been very bad captain. india wins only when batsman chase down difficult target, India is not able to defend small target. This is the reason why both batting department and bowling department is under tremendous pressure. BAD CAPTAINCY . Dhoni has to remember he does not have Yuvraj singh, sachin tendulkar or VVS laxman to handle pressure now. Earlier dhoni used to take all the credit for winning the game but as far as i know he has been worst captain. Harbhajan singh is not getting a place in team clearly shows that dhoni only supports his favorite teammates and have no respect for experience old player.

  • Amit on February 2, 2014, 1:45 GMT

    Problem lies in the whole of top & middle order in which everyone apart from Kohli failed. In bowling, Shami & Bhuvi were decent, Jadeja showed he can be a world class allrounder, Aaron improved with every match he played and these were the positives. India could had easily won the series wth a little better batting effort.

    India need to re-look at their strategy at the top & need one match winning bowler. Two new openers, two new middle order batsmen and a medium pace bowling allrounder (Pathan (when fit) or Rishi Dhawan) to replace Ashwin are the order of the day.

  • vikraman on February 1, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    Ishanth sharma after bowling well in one inninings in south africa, he started telling that he has learnt and improved and also said that he has to to pitch the ball up to the batsmen on helpful conditons.. but in the subsequent matches he is always bowling short of length.. which tells that he doesn't have control over where he bowls.. and clearly he is also not a thinking bowler(remember 30 runs given by him to faulkner in an over that too in a chase).. keeping these sort of bowlers and how do you expect to take wickets.. Dhoni in a ridiculous statement said that he is choosing two spinners because of fear of over rate.. he is forgetting that he is the captain.. other captains are having five fast bowlers and completing the overs in the scheduled time. but dhoni is adamant that he wont change.. so his team also doesn't change.. look at the NZ, they changed their bowling combination almost every match which makes it unpredictable,where as any time, everyone knows what dhoni will do

  • Lakshmi on February 1, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    Dhoni should be sacked from captiancy...failed in Eng, Aus, SA & again in NZ. He should step down like the way dravid did after the previous world cup failures. Viru, Gauti & Yuvi should be back to the squad. Munaf & Kumar shoud be back to squad.

  • Dummy4 on February 1, 2014, 11:46 GMT

    From last 12 ODI [outside India], India won just 1, tie 1 [luckily] & lost 10 of them... So they are definitely Minnows... they should play in the 2nd tier of ODI with China, Namibia, Hongkong or Canada..

  • KISH on February 1, 2014, 11:46 GMT

    @VipinGangwar, very well said. However, you do have to give weight to the fact that Ashes is a prestige issue for both teams. If you lose it badly, some prominent names are bound to go to oblivion. Having said that, I agree with you regarding the Indian selection. Inconsistency is never a problem in India. If you can score a double century in 20 matches, that will give you a life for another 20 matches. This is partly because there aren't may other options available either.

  • KISH on February 1, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    To me, the result is no surprise at all. But, India have found some positives from the series. Firstly, there has been some real lower order batting from Ashwin and Jadeja in one match. They have to keep doing it consistently and if Irfan Pathan comes into the side with Binny(if he is good), that will make a formidable lower order. Another positive is Aaron. The guy is bowling fast. Forget about the economy rate. I hope they keep faith in him and give him a very long run in the international matches. India should also give another extended run to Yuvraj Singh. He is a match winner and should be given a license to unleash his sixers with the assurance that he can't be dropped. Pack the team with more match winners. Yusuf and Irfan Pathan, KKD Karthik and Pujara are the other names comes to my mind. To be honest, Rahane has proved me wrong. May be he is more of a test player. Let's see how he performs in the test series. To me, Raina also should be persisted with.

  • Lakshmi on February 1, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    As an Indian fan shame to say we don't have talents to win overseas matches. Most of the time batting fails in overseas condition and bowling department has done okay. This time both batting & bowling failed. We can't accept 4-0 series lost to NZ. Dhoni should step down from captaincy after losing England, Australia, South Africa and now NZ series. We soon forget these loss and start enjoy our IPL and matches in Indian conditions. We should get Shewag, Gambir and Yuvi back to squad and throw shekar, Suresh raina and Rohit out to improve their batting. We should also get back Kumar, Munaf back to bowling squad and throw Ishant out.

    If we dont win test series, as an Indian fan I will stop buying all the products where we have current indian players in the AD. Atleast I can do this to show my frustration.

  • sap on February 1, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    Dear Dhoni,

    Dont Worry as T20 WC and Asia Cup, both are coming soon on FT for all your FTBs to Rock the World and We Indian fans will again be Happy till India's next away tour outside sub-continent..

    @Shane Bond..Nice to see you man..

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